A Committee Known for Results

Sandi Doctor, Financial Investment Committee Member

Sandi Doctor was always aware of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s Financial Investment Committee and understood its mission, but she didn’t really know much about its history or how it operated.

The committee has earned quite a reputation over the years, earning annualized 7 percent returns for 10 years and a No. 1 ranking in investment performance among community foundations nationwide.

Like anyone working in investment management, she couldn’t become a member of this unique and impactful group that grows not only KZCF’s endowment, but the City of Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo County pension funds. That protocol prevents any chance for conflict of interest.

But once she left her position as principal at LVM Capital Management, Doctor was eligible to join the committee, and that’s when – as vice president of Northwood Group – she received a call from Susan Springgate, vice president of Finance & Administration at KZCF, inviting her to join the seven-member committee.

“I did my due diligence and found the committee to be a very professional group and very dedicated to its mission,” says Doctor, who has an MBA from Western Michigan University. “I was honored to join the committee.” She found a variety of skills, from economists to lawyers and CPAs, and finance leaders from WMU, Stryker and the former Pharmacia & Upjohn.

“The committee is very efficient with its members’ time, and that’s really important to me,” Doctor reflects. “Sitting in long meetings is not for me, so I’ve been impressed with the 45-minute meetings per entity, for the city, county and KZCF. We can review three pools of assets in that amount of time because we do our homework prior to the meetings.”

The committee meets quarterly and uses an investment philosophy that has stood the test of time. “We test our approach from time to time to make sure it’s the right one, but we stay on track and avoid fads and short-term thinking. All decisions have to be unanimous and there are no power struggles,” says Doctor. “We have respect for each others’ opinions and what we each bring to the table. Everyone has the same mission, to get the best return on these city, county and foundation funds with an appropriate level of risk.”

Committee members are not paid and turnover is minimal to provide stability. “When I joined the committee I found that long-term members help us remember where we’ve been, which is very helpful in charting where we’re going as a committee.”

“We all love this community,” she says, “and it’s gratifying to be a part of this work in increasing resources to benefit the community.”

For more details on our investments visit our Investment Information page here.

To view the complete summer issue of Update, click here.

Click here to view the next article of this issue about new funds created by donors this year so far.

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